Shock survey - the the 35 icons the under 30s don't know including Marilyn Monroe and Neil Armstrong

New research has revealed a list of lost iconic figures, which under 30s Brits are unfamiliar with.

By Chris Page
Friday, 6th May 2022, 10:02 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 10:16 am
Marilyn Monroe was a film star and cultural icon
Marilyn Monroe was a film star and cultural icon

Mary Seacole, who famously tended to British soldiers during the Crimean war, came top of the lost icons list.

And despite Kim Kardashian wearing her famous dress this week to the Met Gala Ball, as many as 49 percent claimed they weren’t sure who Marilyn Monroe was or what she was famous for.

Almost eight in 10 of those surveyed by insights agency Perspectus Global, had never heard of Alan Turning - the man behind the code breaking Enigma machine which turned the tide of WW2.

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While 77 percent of the 18 to 30-year-olds were unclear as to who or what Emmeline Pankhurst did to make her a household name.

In fact, 89 percent didn’t know who artist Frida Kahlo was, while 71 percent had no idea who Andy Warhol was famous for, while 66 percent were clueless as to what Pablo Picasso did.

Silver screen duo Ginger Rogers (77 percent), Fred Astair (73 percent), were also a mystery to the modern Brits polled, as were Jimi Hendrix (63 percent), Alfred Hitchcock (65 percent) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s star Audrey Hepburn (66 percent).

Ellie Glason, managing director of Insights Agency, Perspectus Global which carried out the study said: “It is fascinating to see how many iconic figures from history are unknown to the younger generation of Brits”.

Other historical figures who appear to have been lost to the younger generations in the mist of time include, civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks (73 percent), the Lady of the Lamp, Florence Nightingale (58 percent) and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong (53 percent).

When it comes to what makes an icon, 74 percent of Brits said it was someone who had been inspiring, 55 percent said that overcoming challenges was important, and 51 percent said it was about doing something groundbreaking that changed the world.

TOP 35 LOST ICONS (*with percentages for number of under 30 Brits who claimed “they were unsure as to who they were or what they achieved”)

Mary Seacole - 91 percent

Frida Kahlo - 89 percent

Virginia Woolf - 80 percent

Alan Turing - 79 percent

Ginger Rogers - 77 percent

Emmeline Pankhurst - 77 percent

Marlon Brando - 72 percent

Cary Grant - 74 percent

Fred Astaire - 73 percent

Bette Davis - 75 percent

Jim Morrison - 74 percent

Sigmund Freud - 74 percent

Mahatma Gandhi - 72 percent

George Orwell - 73 percent

Rosa Parks - 73 percent

Andy Warhol - 71 percent

Aretha Franklin - 68 percent

Alfred Hitchcock - 65 percent

Jimi Hendrix - 63 percent

Audrey Hepburn - 66 percent

Kurt Cobain - 66 percent

Charlie Chaplin - 59 percent

Pablo Picasso - 66 percent

Marie Curie - 62 percent

Muhammad Ali - 50 percent

Florence Nightingale - 58 percent

Bruce Lee - 56 percent

Nelson Mandela - 55 percent

Martin Luther King - 54 percent

Neil Armstrong - 53 percent

JF Kennedy - 53 percent

Anne Frank - 51 percent

Bob Marley - 51 percent

John Lennon - 49 percent

Marilyn Monroe - 49 percent